New US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy arrives in Sydney and clashes with reporter

New US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy has landed in the country to begin her posting, saying she feels “lucky” to serve and live here.

Mrs. Kennedy, 64, is the last surviving child of former President John F. Kennedy.

His arrival was eagerly awaited after US President Joe Biden announced his appointment last December.

The US Senate unanimously confirmed her position as ambassador in May and she was sworn in on June 10.

Speaking to reporters shortly after landing at Sydney Airport, Ms Kennedy said she was looking forward to embarking on the “big program”.

“Everyone is so excited to work together in the Quad and in the Pacific. So there is a big schedule and I can’t wait to get started,” she said.

“Personally, it means a lot to me. My husband is here with me. We first came to Australia on our honeymoon 36 years ago, almost exactly because three days ago it was our anniversary.

“I can’t believe how lucky I am to have the chance to serve here and live here and get to know even more people.”

But it was an exchange with a male reporter in the room that diverted attention from her arrival.

The pending press kit was eager to pose their questions to the new ambassador, talking over each other as they tried to get her attention.

A reporter’s decision to speak over a female reporter caught Mrs. Kennedy’s attention.

“Are you coming to talk about the woman?” asked the ambassador.

She looked directly at the reporter for a moment before laughing and focusing on the reporter waiting for her.

“Well, okay, she started,” Ms. Kennedy added.

The rest of the press conference went off without a hitch, with Ms Kennedy answering a series of questions about the Pacific to Mr Biden’s recent Covid diagnosis.

Ms Kennedy succeeds Arthur Culvahouse, who left in early 2021 when former President Donald Trump left office.

This is the second high-level post for Ms. Kennedy, who served as ambassador to Japan in the Obama administration.

In a video message ahead of her arrival, the new ambassador pledged to strengthen US-Australia relations through increased engagement in the region and action on climate change.

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